Former Sen. Claire McCaskill says Democrats have an age problem within its leadership ranks: 'I'm saying this as somebody who's ancient'

·2 min read
Claire McCaskill
Former Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri.Scott Olson/Getty Images
  • Claire McCaskill on Sunday said Democrats have an age issue within their leadership ranks.

  • On NBC's "Meet the Press," the ex-senator remarked on the "ancient" makeup of the party's leaders.

  • She said that the party must do more to engage with younger voters ahead of 2022 and 2024.

Former Sen. Claire McCaskill on Sunday said that the leadership of the Democratic Party has an age problem, with the "ancient" nature of its top ranks serving a problematic issue as the party seeks to rally younger voters this fall and in the 2024 presidential contest.

During a panel discussion on NBC's "Meet the Press," the former Missouri lawmaker and political analyst for NBC and MSNBC said she felt that the party had an ongoing issue with the cultivation of new leadership, adding that "ancient" members are still largely in control of the party apparatus.

"I will tell you I do think the Democratic Party is struggling with an issue that is real and that is all of our leadership. And I'm saying this as somebody who's ancient — you know — a lot of us are running the Democratic Party now in every part of the Democratic Party," she said.

"I think the Democratic Party will benefit from really doing some navel-gazing about how can we get more young people to the forefront because young people are going to be really important to us in 2024," McCaskill added.

The issue of age has come up for many politicians — but especially for Democrats — as many of their top leaders have been in positions of power for decades, with few showing signs of stepping aside from their roles.

President Joe Biden, who is turning 80 years old in November, currently plans to for reelection in 2024. If Biden runs and serves out a full second term, he would be 86 years old at the time of his departure from the White House.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, 82, has led the Democratic caucus in the lower chamber since 2003, with Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, 83, serving as the party's No. 2 leader during that same timeframe.

Rep. Jim Clyburn, 82, has also been a member of the party's House leadership sine 2003, rising from vice chair of the Democratic caucus to his current role as Majority Whip, a position that he also held from 2007 until 2011.

McCaskill, 69, who was first elected to the Senate in 2006, was reelected in 2012 but in 2018 lost her bid for a third term to Republican Josh Hawley.

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